LAS VEGAS — The Takeover is complete.
Teofimo Lopez completed his rocket trip to the top of boxing’s lightweight division with a gritty unanimous decision over Vasiliy Lomachenko that made him the undisputed champion.
Lopez now holds the WBA, WBC, WBO and IBF lightweight titles, becoming only the fifth man in the four-belt era to be an undisputed champion. The others are Bernard Hopkins, Jermain Taylor, Terence Crawford and Oleksandr Usyk.
Judge Tim Cheatham had it 116-112, the same as Yahoo Sports. Steve Weisfeld favored Lopez 117-111 while Julie Lederman had it an almost incomprehensible 119-109 for Lopez.
“Julie Lederman, what kind of fight was she watching,” promoter Bob Arum said. “These judges are the craziest. … Lopez won the fight, but [Lomachenko] won four of those rounds in the back end.”
Lomachenko’s strategy was baffling, to say the least. He threw very few punches in the first half of the fight and let Lopez win by moving forward and throwing jabs and the occasional right hand.
Lomachenko picked it up in the second half of the fight but he had fallen way behind. He clearly made a comeback, but her wide score had many outraged.
“I would advise any fighter I would have to ask the commission not to appoint her,” Arum said.
Lopez’s punching power seemed to be a factor, as well. While there were no knockdowns, Lomachenko had trouble competing with those hard rights that Lopez was landing. In the 12th round, with it seeming the fight might be in the balance, Lopez landed three or four bristling rights that stopped Lomachenko in his tracks.
Lopez suffered a nasty gash over his left eye after suffering a late head butt. Lomachenko lowered his head a lot and was warned repeatedly for it by referee Russell Mora.
The loss was Lomachenko’s second as a pro and third of his career, after a 396-1 amateur career that included two Olympic gold medals. He’s now 14-2 as a pro.
Lopez, who won the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials but did not make the team, represented Honduras and was eliminated in the first round in Rio de Janeiro. But he’s been a budding star as a pro and on Saturday, hit the top of the mountain finally.
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